Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I Slept With What???

Wilt Chamberlain may have enjoyed the "company" of 20,000 ladies over the course of his life but I'd be willing to bet dollars to donuts that he never woke up next to a pile of goldfish crackers in his bed.

'nuff said.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Swingset - Day 1

Well, it was probably only a matter of time until I gave in. Carrie, having spent this many years with me probably planned this from the get-go. Whatever the case, we purchased an obscenely large and ostentatious swingset for the boys. My hesitations were more than likely aimed at the fact that things like this didn't exist when I was kid, outside of large, publicly funded schoolyards.

First off, if you haven't guessed yet, it's freakin' HUGE. With a capital HUGE. We purchased the Windsor model from the Create-N-Adventure line by Backyard Leisure. I won't be too surprised if this mammoth is considered rental property and is taxed by the town next year:

The product quality is very good, the instructions are extremely accurate and useful and apparently, judging from the picture, we get socio-economic and cultural diversity automatically included with the purchase price. If only someone could convince Republican administrations that nation-building were this simple and a second...uh...never mind....

So I mentioned the instruction's 60+ pages long. I feel that I should use it to shingle the roof of the new structure as so many trees went into its creation. It took me three hours last weekend just to inventory and lay-out the parts for the "construction weekend" so I wouldn't be a total mess, looking for part # 90wc5-lc-ss6.1f (that just so happens to look exactly the same as part # 90wc5-lc-ss6.1e) and thinking that 0900 was a perfectly acceptable time to have a beer or six.

Whatever the case, planning actually paid off and the first day of construction went well. The day was mostly spent assembling the "appendages" to the forbidden city in our back yard...the ladders, slide, climbing wall, etc. Here's the fun pix of the first day:

What a lovely, organized collection of parts and things. No children around yet.

I really don't know what to say here.

You can take the monkey out of the jungle and you can take a person out of a bar but you can't take Colin away off of the monkey bars.

Two monkeys inspecting the monkey bars.

My first round of quality control. If it doesn't pass Liam it doesn't pass at all!

"Daddy, why is the new thing here with our old stuff? Do you think Clara (the dog) can climb it?"

Colin attesting to my organizational skills. Or he may just be swatting at the black flies.

"OK, I've got the climbing wall figured about a REAL challenge???"

"What's daddy been doing all day and why does Liam have the camera?"

Little Mr. Fixer-Helper

Liam getting his socket and ratchet groove going.

Power tools by DeWalt, refreshments by Berkshire Brewing Company.

OK, this is the point where it starts getting a bit tough for an individual to do it all. Need additional bodies for Day 2.

Liam learning to use a ratchet. He learned it as "push, pull, push, pull...."

Colin checking our work. Glad everything passed the inspector's approval process.

Heh. It's getting large and it's not even close to complete. This is the completed extension for the swings.

Colin not feeling too good about daddy's interpretation of a slide.

Looks fine to me.

Liam trusts it!!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Zoo Full of Animals

We spent Liam's actually birthday at the zoo which everyone enjoyed. They loved all the animals of course (though Colin is standing over my shoulder telling to me post ALL the animals photos we took, I only snuck in a couple of their favorites) but they had the most fun when we discovered some super "humongous" (Liam's new favorite word) trees that had dropped all their blooms on the ground. It really was like a fairyland full of fluffy pink snow.

Here's Liam warding off our petal balls.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Eamon looks like he's ready to be a float in the Rose Parade.
(Note: he is missing one shoe per usual)

Of all the animals and things to do, Liam was just as happy to climb up this random tree trunk.

A nice boy with a nice smile.

A crazy boy with a silly smile.

As close as Colin could get to riding a real camel.

The elephants and giraffes were probably the favorites.

Colin sees how he measures up to an elephant skull.

Any excuse to get wet or dirty is always welcome. As an aside, Colin has had an imaginary friend named Bananahead for quite a while now. I hadn't heard about him in while so I asked how he was this week. "He's dead", Colin exclaimed. "What happened?" I asked. "Well, since his birthday was EVERY DAY, he got to be one hundred and twenty four and then he died." Makes sense, I guess and he doesn't seem too broken up about it!

We had to work to get a good photo of the kangaroo but Colin was happy to regale me with all his knowledge of joeys and pouches.

Last week I must have forgotten to take photos because this is all we've got! I took the boys out for a long walk to get ice cream. It's only about 5 miles round trip, but straight up and down some steep hills. For those of you think I always have "great ideas", this was not one of them. As we say to the boys all the time: "Not a good plan, Stan." I kept wondering why I was getting strange looks from passersby. If you know where we live, I never knew why they called it "Christian Hill" but I do now. You need a heap of faith in a Higher Being to get up it, especially after I calculated (much too late) that I was pushing and lugging (Eamon was on my back in a backpack) 102 pounds of kid. And, as you can see, Mommy exerting herself is SO tiring to the boys that they passed out on the way home, happily covered in sticky and sprinkles.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

5K and 3T

Happy Birthday to Liam James!! Today is the big day, but I feel like we've been celebrating for a month (probably because we have!) Between his combined family party with Eamon to his "Friend Party" on Tuesday to a visit to the zoo today (pictures of that coming soon), it's been quite the Month of Fun for Blee-boy. He had a Train Theme this year and here are my Little Engineers outside in the sandbox digging up a mess.

Liam getting ready to blow out the Big Three candles on his Train Cake.

He'll hate me for this someday but it's just SO Liam right now. He had to take a break from opening presents for some nose-picking action. He's constantly excavating his nose and loves to tell me that "Nose Goblins aren't yucky for me! They're yummy for me, haha!" We try to ignore his antics and are hoping peer pressure puts an end to this habit when he starts preschool next year.

Everyone was so exhausted the day after The Party that the boys hung around in their skivvies all day and lounged. Here's Colin pretend napping (they made a big huge deal of bringing all their blankets down to make forts with the couch cushions and thought that a fake nap would be fun. Oh, but couldn't it have been REAL?) What you don't see is that Liam is naked from the waist down, as he usually is these days. He's 100% potty trained. Uh... scratch that. As long as he's naked or going commando, he's potty-trained. Anytime he wears underpants of any variety or leaves the house, he forgets about the potty altogether-- but at home he's doing great!

How many crazy boys does it take to break a crib? Fortunately, more than three because it's still standing! (Even after 41 years since this bed started out as Unkey Monkeys as Liam likes to call his Uncle Michael)

More signs of life in our yard.

For a couple weeks, Liam has been asking me constantly: "Mama, what HAPPENED to the trees??!" That would be the buds are finally out on them, that's what! These buds came courtesy of our weeping cherry tree.

My birthday was the week before Liam's and I treated myself to my first 5K run. Boy, was it nice to see my boys waiting for me at the finish line (boy, was it great to see the finish line at all!)

The festivities after the race included a kids' band who brought balloons and maracas. Here's Fire Chief Colin in his rain boots shaking his booty. The boys have been obsessed with super heroes this week, mostly because of some great gifts Liam got at his party. Colin, ever the smarty-pants thoughtfully asked: "Mom, why does Spiderman make the sign for "I love you" when he slings out webs?" These are the questions no baby book prepares you for...

Eamon is very close to walking on his own, but still panics when he realizes he's not holding onto anything. He has mastered standing alone while holding about a billion things in his hands, but is still leery of taking too many steps. He can run around like a maniac with some help though and his favorite is using the stroller, as above, as his walker. He also loves to clap, say "Bye-bye, Dada!" when Chris leaves for work, kiss on demand and when asked to say "Mama", he shakes his head "No" vehemently and then laughs maniacally. He's certainly letting his personality shine through these days. Luckily he's all sweet (mostly).

Friday, May 2, 2008

The World According to Blee

All of the photos this week come courtesy of Liam's camera. He's been getting pretty into it lately. There were literally hundreds of photos in the last couple days, most of which are of various walls but there was an entire study of the backseat of the car from every which angle as well. After a week of wonderful weather where we played outdoors constantly, this dreary week of cold and rain came as a big shock to our system. Liam had been hyperfocused on sporting events recently... a birthday full of bikes and basketball hoops will do that to a fellow. He's actually a really agile little athlete with a good throwing arm and pretty decent aim for a tot his size. He LOVES playing "batter batter baseball" and using his "baseball glub (glove)" most of all.

A shot of "Big" using his "look and listen scope" to eek out which of the many flavors of ice cream he was going to choose. In the end, they ALWAYS get vanilla with rainbow sprinkles, but the thought process behind that choice is AGONIZING (mostly for Mommy).

Our local ice cream place just opened up for summer and the boys wanted their mug taken with EIEIO, the resident oil-tank-turned-gigantic-working-piggy-bank. I'd like to get my hands on the proceeds from that little porker myself.

Eamon on his first solo ride down the slide.

"Big" and "Tiny" going tandem.

Eamon just cackles and cackles on the swing, the higher the better!

Liam finally gets in front of lens on a fast ride down the "tall slide" (they have names for all the slides on the local playground. "Tall", "Curly", "Tuby", "Racing", etc...)

Liam just HAD to take his flying chicken to the playground where he was up to his usual hijinks.

Captain Colin, the climbing master. His First Matey Liam is actually afraid of this "pirate ladder" so he photographed instead.

Erin spent the weekend with us and Liam snapped her from his vantage point in his car seat. Now they ask everyday when Erin is coming back, but alas, there's another month until school is out for summer and their cousins can spoil the boys on any day of the week.

Looking down at his Froggy Feet.

What Liam must see whenever he is strapped into his seat.

Whenever Liam gets sleepy in the car, I ask him if he's getting "dreamy". He will never admit to sleepiness and always tells me he's "counting the trees from his window". According to this photo, maybe he really is!

Little piggy toes.

This was one of the very first photos Liam took with his camera. Of course, the subject matter contains his two favorite things: "tivvee" and "Land Before Time".

Still Life with Laundry.
It never ceases to amaze me what the boys think is photo-worthy. Here's some towels in the laundry bag waiting to be put away. There's a future yet as a set-designer for some homey magazine... if BatterBatterBaseball doesn't pan out, that is.